Tag Archives: yardwork

Busy/relaxing Saturday

We slept in a bit this morning because we got in so late last night.  We both showered and then headed downstairs for breakfast.  Arnie and Nancy were up and we chatted with them while we ate breakfast.  Sarah got up just before we headed out.

We borrowed Sarah’s car and drove for about an hour to meet Jon and Angie, and their new baby.  It was a nice visit.  We got to their house just before 11 and we were there until about 1:30 pm.  Jon made us an excellent lunch consisting of spinach quiche, warm fresh bread, fruit, juice.  Yum!  I even had seconds.  After lunch the baby (who was sleeping quite soundly) woke up and Kelly helped feed her.

At 1:30 we got back in the car and headed back Sarah’s parent’s.  We stopped to fill the car up with gas and when we got back, Arnie and Michael were doing some work cleaning out the “barn” garage.  I offered to help and Michael, Arnie and I ended up washing the cars (inside and out) as well as cutting the tall grass and dumping it in the woods (easier than it sounds).

The rest of the day was restful.  We all sat around in the sunroom, talking and napping.  We had a late dinner of BBQ’d chicken, asparagus and an excellent noodle pudding.  After dinner, Michael built a big fire in the fireplace and we all sat around chatting some more.  Sarah had made an ice cream cake for Arnie’s birthday and we ate that.  Around 10:30, I was pretty beat and Kelly and I headed up to bed.

Originally published at From the Desk of Jamie Todd Rubin. You can comment here or there.

Make-up day

I took a sick day today in order to fit in doctors appointments and stuff like that. I worked from home in between. Incidentally, it was one year ago today that I began my month-long vacation, most of which was spent in Europe.

I had a physical today and the news was good: I am still alive.

Actually, it really was good. As far as my doctor can see, I am in great shape. The blood pressure issue I had 2 years ago was either a fluke, or all of the exercise and diet changes I’ve made have cured it. My blood pressure was “excellent”, as was everything else. I have some labs that I need to get done to check things like cholesterol, but I can take those in at my own convenience.

I picked up our wedding license from Anne Arundel county today as well, checking another item off our list of wedding-related things to do.

It was my plan to mow the lawn too. I went out back and cut back a bunch of bamboo. I was about to start mowing when the neighbor boy, Josh, came by. He told me he was trying to raise money for a church trip and offered to mow my lawn for $3.

“Three dollars?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said.

“You’ve got to up your asking price.” I’ve got a pretty big yard. I studied the yard, thought about how much I needed to get done, and said, “Tell you what, you do the front and back and I’ll give you $20.” That’s what we agreed to. He did both front and back yards and I gave him a crisp new $20. Made my day a little easier and allowed me to get little more done.

But still not as much as I had hoped. I had hoped to get some packing done today, but I ran out of time. I had to call into a work meeting from 6 PM until about 7:30 PM. Now it’s about 8 and I need to get ready for bed. Back to work tomorrow. And I’ve got a softball game after work.

I’m 270 pages through The Language Instinct.

The second half of 2008 begins tomorrow.

The lawnmower is not broken

When I last mowed the lawn, about 10 days ago, I suspected that I might have busted the mower. Turns out, I plug came loose and when I popped the plug back in this afternoon before attempting to cut the grass in the backyard, the mower started just fine. That’s good because I don’t know how I would have managed to cut the grass for the 8 more weeks I’ll be here before I move.

I also cut back a bunch of bamboo. I probably didn’t pick the best afternoon to do this since it’s humid and well into the 80s here, but my landlord is showing the place to some prospective new tenants tomorrow and I wanted to make sure it was in good shape when he came by.

Great Falls

Saturday brought us some nearly perfect spring weather. Despite that, I did my best to sleep in. I slept really well Friday night, and wanted it to continue, so I slept in until around 9:30 AM. It felt great.

Kelly had the great idea of heading over to Great Falls National Park, which is not far from where she lives. We headed over late in the morning, and arrived on the Maryland side. We parked the car and I grabbed a quick hot dog (not having eaten anything yet) and then hikes about for a while. It was beautiful weather. Lots of people were hiking about. The Billy Goat trail was closed, probably due to all of the rain we’ve been getting, but we strolled along the canal, and also followed the pathway that overlooks the falls. I even managed to take a few pictures, which I’ll post later.

Upon getting back to Kelly’s I decided I was read for a nap, and I think I must have napped for around 1-1/2 or so. We ran to the grocery store and then packed up our things (and Kelly packed up her laundry) and we headed over to my place. Kelly did laundry while I mowed the lawn. Well, the front lawn. I completed the front lawn and just started the back when I had a rock with the mower and it stopped working. When I try and start it, it just makes a clicking sound. I don’t know what’s wrong with it.

Saturday evening when headed into DC to hang out with Sarah and Michael. That was fun. We took their dog, Oliver, for a walk in the Congressional Cemetery, stopped at Harris Teeter’s to pick up some food, and then sat out in their backyard, talking, and eating for a few hours. It was close to 11 PM, I think, when we finally headed home.

First lawn-mowing of the season

The first lawn mowing of the season is complete. It took me about an hour to mow the front and back yards. There was lots of tall, thick grass from the rain we had, and lots of annoying seed pods from the trees, but I’m done! The yard looks at though it’s received a long-needed haircut. And my hand are stiff from gripping and pushing the mower.

The plan is to read for a little while, write for a while, and then treat myself to the all-new episode of The Office that airs at 9 PM on NBC, before heading off to bed.

Saturday morning errands and chores

Up at about 8:30 AM and I headed out at once to get a haircut, which I’ve been needing for some time now. (See the before and after images below.) It was nice, I walked right into the haircut place, and was taken right away. No wait. It’s not the best haircut I’ve ever gotten, but it’s shorter and that’s all that really matters as far as I’m concerned.



I came home, grabbed the empty gas container from the garage, and then ran to the gas station to fill it up with gasoline. I needed more gas for the lawn mower. When I got back home, I popped some Boston onto my iPhone (hoping for their defeat later this afternoon) and listened to their self-titled album one and a half times while I mowed the lawn. It was the first time I’d cut the grass in a long time and there was a lot to cut. It took a little over an hour (and that included getting some kind of metal wire wrapped around the mower blade, which I had to cut off with wire-cutters). But the yard is done now, front and back, and I feel much better.

While I was mowing, the Water People came by to read my meter. I have an inside water meter and usually, they just leave me a note and I can phone in my reading using the automated phone system. This is the first time since I’ve lived here that the meter people caught me at home and were able to take a reading directly.

After mowing, I took a well-deserved shower, and started the first of what will probably be a half dozen loads of laundry. I also called AJ & Denisse to see if they wanted to come over this afternoon to watch the Yankees game with me.

I plan on getting some writing done today, and there are probably a few more errands I need to run, but as of noon on Saturday, I feel pretty good about what I’ve gotten done today.

Saturday errands, part 2

I managed to get a few more items checked off my list, after having spent some time sending two mass-emailings to just about everyone I know, telling them that my first story is available.

I headed over to Greenbelt and got a haircut. I also finally got around to getting myself a couple of new swim suits from Old Navy. (I didn’t stop just there. I also got another pair of short, as well as some more shirts, socks, and boxers for the cruise.)

After I got home, I mowed the lawns, front and back. I also did another load of laundry and I have only a few more loads to go now.

I still have some running around to do. I need to get something to eat. I haven’t eaten anything at all today and I’m pretty hungry at the moment. When I get back, I’m going to begin packing my clothes for the trip. I also have some additional cleaning around the house to do which I hope to get done today.

To be continued…


I just finished cutting the grass, 15 days after the last time I cut it. It was very long in places, and I’m surprised that the City of Riverdale didn’t leave a note for me telling me to cut the grass, but perhaps they were too busy with their recent election. Anyway, both front and back yards are now all done and hopefully won’t need cutting again until I am back from L.A.

Next up: grocery shopping and laundry.

Mow, mow, mow your lawn…

I finally cut the grass for the second time this year this evening. I was nervous to do so on two accounts. First, the last time I cut the grass, it snowed a few days later and I want no more snow this season. Snow’s over folks. Second, I’d but off cutting for quite some time (25 days to be precise) and the grass in both the front yard and back yard was rather long. Plus it had rained last night. Anyone who has mowed long, wet grass knows how tough it can be.

But I’m pleased to say it is all done! It’s likely I won’t be able to wait another 25 days before cutting the grass again, but at least it’s finished for now.

I’d like to get a haircut this evening but I’m not sure I’ll have time to do it. It can probably wait until Sunday. I still have some house cleaning and laundry to do before he11o_sunshine arrives tomorrow morning.

Mowing the lawn and MOwing them down!

I got home from work and pulled the lawn mower out of the garage for the first time this year. The lawn was in pretty bad shape–meaning the grass was pretty tall, especially in the back. It took about an hour, but I got it all mowed. There’s something about a freshly mowed lawn that reminds me of a brand new haircut. It just looks good!

I then settled down to watch the opening day Yankees game, which I had TiVo’d earlier today. I went through the whole day not looking at the scores. And then, going up to the parking lot at the metro station, I saw another Yankee fan who said to me that A-Rod had just hit a homerun. So I knew that about 3 hours into the game, A-Rod hit one out. Actually, I’m glad I TiVo’d it because I was able to watch a 3 hour game in about 90 minutes. The Yanks won 9-5. Good game. I say “MOwing” them down because, even though it wasn’t a save situation, Mariano Rivera was brought in for the 9th and struck out all three batters he faced. How’s that for a season debut.

(And to make matters even better, the Red Sox are losing to Kansas City 6-1 in the 8th!)

POST SCRIPT: I didn’t wear gloves when mowing the lawn as I usually do and I’ve got a big-ass blister on the middle of my right hand. That’s going to make the chest press tomorrow a little uncomfortable.

Slow Sunday afternoons

Today has been one of those slow Sunday afternoons typical of early fall. I don’t feel like reading, I don’t feel like writing. I would otherwise be pretty bored, except that last night I picked up the first three seasons of Scrubs on DVD so I’ll probably spend the afternoon watching an episode or two.

Ten years ago today, I began reading Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes for the first time. Here is how I described it in my diary:

Today was a good day and I think it was because I started reading Something Wicked This Way Comes at lunch. I love the book. It made lunch great, and made my evening great too.

The next day, I wrote the following:

I did more reading tonight than I have in a single night in quite a while–nearly 100 pages of Something Wicked This Way Comes. What a great story! It was so pleasant to be sitting, eating a good turkey, ham and cheese sandwich, and a crispy mug of Coke. That, coupled with the fact that it’s fall, and feels like fall made it a wonderful read.

I have to mow the lawn again (it’s grown in quick since the last time). It’s really nice out right now and I should probably go out and take care of that, but I’m feeling a little to lethargic lazy. Maybe later.

My landlord invited me to an outing and concert at his home (a rambling farm) on October 14, which was very nice of him. It would be fun to go, but I will be in L.A. that weekend, and so I had to take a rain check.

I’ve been listening to Coldplay much of the early part of the afternoon.


When I got home from the lake, I discovered that the day game of the Yankees/Red Sox game was going to be televised after all (on NESN) and that I would be able to watch it. I was planning on mowing the lawn, which was in desperate need of mowing. I figured I’d do the front yard first and do the back yard after the first game (their second day/night double-header in a row).

I put on the the iPod and off I went mowing. I’d mowed about 3/5ths of the front yard when I felt a tight pinch at the base of my right calf, and looked down to discover that I’d been stung by a bee. It’s the first time I’ve been stung since I was a kid. As it turns out, I must have run over a bee hive under the grass because when I looked back, there were bees all over. It was almost game time, so I decided to finish mowing after the game.

In the meantime, I had to deal with the sting, and I had no idea what to do, other than make sure to get the stinger out, which I did right away. I called Mom and Dad, figuring they’d know what to do about a bee sting. My initial concern was that in the intervening decades since I last was stung, I might have developed an allergy to the venon and ended up with anaphalaxis (watching too much House, I suppose). They told me to ice it down. At this time, here’s what it looks like:

I forgot how much bee stings actually hurt, given the size of the stinger and the amount of venon contained therewithin. It made my curious as to why bee stings hurt so much. So I did a little research:

  • First, a honeybee sting hurts more than a bumblebee sting. The reason is that a honeybee leaves her entire reproductive system behind with the stinger, which continues to pump venom even after it is released. Honeybees sacrifice themselves in the attack. Bumblebees, on the otherhand, do not commit suicide upon stinging; they sting, inject some toxin, and pull out. So honeybees inject more toxin than bumblebees.
  • Honeybees release apitoxin, an acidic toxin with a pH somewhere between 4.5 and 5.5 and have the ability to inject a total of 0.1 mg. Apitoxin is similar to snake venom. Interestingly, apitoxin can be deactivated by ethanol (grain alcohol)
  • If a honeybee is fatally injured, in addition to releasing apitoxin, it also releases alarm pheromones. If a swarm or hive is nearby, these pheromones will attract other bees and excite them into a defensive mode.

I suspect is was a honeybee that stung me because (a) the stinger was still in the wound at first, until I brushed it off (it wasn’t deep); and (b) it wasn’t until after the sting that the other bees showed up.

As a precaution, in addition to icing down the sting, I took some benedryl (an antihistamine) to counteract the itchiness common to stings.